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Become An Environmental Planner

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Working As An Environmental Planner

  • Analyzing Data or Information
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Deal with People

  • $63,758

    Average Salary

What Does An Environmental Planner Do

Environmental engineers use the principles of engineering, soil science, biology, and chemistry to develop solutions to environmental problems. They are involved in efforts to improve recycling, waste disposal, public health, and water and air pollution control. They also address global issues, such as unsafe drinking water, climate change, and environmental sustainability.

Duties

Environmental engineers typically do the following:

  • Prepare, review, and update environmental investigation reports
  • Design projects that lead to environmental protection, such as water reclamation facilities, air pollution control systems, and operations that convert waste to energy
  • Obtain, update, and maintain plans, permits, and standard operating procedures
  • Provide technical support for environmental remediation projects and for legal actions
  • Analyze scientific data and do quality-control checks
  • Monitor the progress of environmental improvement programs
  • Inspect industrial and municipal facilities and programs in order to ensure compliance with environmental regulations
  • Advise corporations and government agencies about procedures for cleaning up contaminated sites

Environmental engineers conduct hazardous-waste management studies in which they evaluate the significance of a hazard and advise on treating and containing it. They also design systems for municipal and industrial water supplies and industrial wastewater treatment, and research the environmental impact of proposed construction projects. Environmental engineers in government develop regulations to prevent mishaps.

Some environmental engineers study ways to minimize the effects of acid rain, climate change, automobile emissions, and ozone depletion. They also collaborate with environmental scientists, planners, hazardous waste technicians, and other engineers, as well as with specialists such as experts in law and business, to address environmental problems and environmental sustainability. For more information, see the job profiles on environmental scientists and specialists, hazardous materials removal workers, lawyers, and urban and regional planners.

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How To Become An Environmental Planner

Environmental engineers must have a bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering or a related field, such as civil, chemical, or general engineering. Employers also value practical experience. Therefore, cooperative engineering programs, in which college credit is awarded for structured job experience, are valuable as well.

Education

Entry-level environmental engineering jobs require a bachelor’s degree. Programs include classroom, laboratory, and field studies. Some colleges and universities offer cooperative programs in which students gain practical experience while completing their education.

At some colleges and universities, a student can enroll in a 5-year program that leads to both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree. A graduate degree allows an engineer to work as an instructor at some colleges and universities or to do research and development, and some employers prefer candidates to have a master’s degree.

Students interested in becoming an environmental engineer should take high school courses in chemistry, biology, physics, and math, including algebra, trigonometry, and calculus.

Many engineering programs are accredited by ABET. Some employers prefer to hire candidates who have graduated from an accredited program. A degree from an ABET-accredited program is usually necessary for a person to become a licensed professional engineer.

Important Qualities

Imagination. Environmental engineers sometimes have to design systems that will be part of larger ones. They must be able to foresee how the proposed designs will interact with other components of the larger system, including the workers, machinery, and equipment, as well as with the environment.

Interpersonal skills. Environmental engineers must be able to work with others toward a common goal. They usually work with engineers and scientists who design other systems and with the technicians and mechanics who put the designs into practice.

Problem-solving skills. When designing facilities and processes, environmental engineers strive to solve several issues at once, from workers’ safety to environmental protection. They must be able to identify and anticipate problems in order to prevent losses for their employers, safeguard workers’ health, and mitigate environmental damage.

Reading skills. Environmental engineers often work with businesspeople, lawyers, and other professionals outside their field. They frequently are required to read and understand documents with topics outside their scope of training.

Writing skills. Environmental engineers must be able to write clearly so that others without their specific training can understand their plans, proposals, specifications, findings, and other documents.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Licensure is not required for entry-level positions as an environmental engineer. A Professional Engineering (PE) license, which allows for higher levels of leadership and independence, can be acquired later in one’s career. Licensed engineers are called professional engineers (PEs). A PE can oversee the work of other engineers, sign off on projects, and provide services directly to the public. State licensure generally requires

  • A degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program
  • A passing score on the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam
  • Relevant work experience, typically at least 4 years
  • A passing score on the Professional Engineering (PE) exam

The initial FE exam can be taken after one earns a bachelor’s degree. Engineers who pass this exam are commonly called engineers in training (EITs) or engineer interns (EIs). After meeting work experience requirements, EITs and EIs can take the second exam, called the Principles and Practice of Engineering.

Several states require continuing education in order for engineers to keep their licenses. Most states recognize licensure from other states if the licensing state’s requirements meet or exceed their own requirements.

After licensing, environmental engineers can earn board certification from the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists. This certification shows that an environmental engineer has expertise in one or more areas of specialization.

Advancement

As beginning engineers gain knowledge and experience, they move on to more difficult projects and they have greater independence to develop designs, solve problems, and make decisions. Eventually, environmental engineers may advance to become technical specialists or to supervise a team of engineers and technicians.

Some may even become engineering managers or move into executive positions, such as program managers. However, before assuming a managerial position, an engineer most often works under the supervision of a more experienced engineer. For more information, see the profile on architectural and engineering managers.

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Environmental Planner jobs

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Environmental Planner Demographics

Gender

Male

52.8%

Female

44.8%

Unknown

2.4%
Ethnicity

White

79.7%

Hispanic or Latino

9.7%

Asian

8.6%

Unknown

1.4%

Black or African American

0.6%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

41.9%

French

19.4%

Portuguese

12.9%

Chinese

6.5%

German

6.5%

Italian

6.5%

Japanese

3.2%

Mandarin

3.2%
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Environmental Planner Education

Schools

Arizona State University

6.8%

Florida Institute of Technology-Melbourne

6.8%

Utah State University

6.8%

University of Arizona

6.8%

University of Pennsylvania

5.4%

University of Georgia

5.4%

State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry

5.4%

Texas A&M University

5.4%

San Diego State University

5.4%

University of Maryland - College Park

5.4%

University of Washington

4.1%

State University of New York Albany

4.1%

University of California - San Diego

4.1%

University of Colorado at Boulder

4.1%

University of California - Los Angeles

4.1%

University of California - Davis

4.1%

Vermont Law School

4.1%

Texas State University

4.1%

State University of New York Buffalo

4.1%

Pennsylvania State University

4.1%
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Majors

Environmental Science

25.8%

Urban Planning

15.4%

Geography

7.9%

Business

6.7%

Biology

6.4%

Natural Resources Management

6.4%

Landscape Architecture

3.7%

Geology

3.7%

Ecology, Population Biology, And Epidemiology

3.4%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

3.0%

Law

3.0%

Anthropology

2.2%

Sustainability

1.9%

Education

1.9%

Forestry

1.5%

Architecture

1.5%

Public Administration

1.5%

Public Policy Analysis

1.5%

Legal Support Services

1.5%

Management

1.1%
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Degrees

Masters

46.5%

Bachelors

28.8%

Other

11.1%

Certificate

6.4%

Doctorate

5.0%

Associate

1.7%

License

0.6%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Environmental Planner Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Environmental Planner II Aecom Technical Services, Inc. San Francisco, CA Feb 05, 2016 $82,909 -
$100,700
Transportation/Environmental Planner Quadrant Consultants Inc. Houston, TX Mar 20, 2015 $80,517
Transportation & Environmental Planner Parsons Transportation Group San Francisco, CA Mar 01, 2011 $69,017 -
$80,934
Environmental Planner Langan Engineering, Environmental Surveying and Landscape Arch. D.P.C. New York, NY Dec 16, 2015 $69,000
Transportation and Environmental Planner Parsons Transportation Group San Francisco, CA Oct 01, 2010 $68,786 -
$91,707
Transportation/Environmental Planner II Quadrant Consultants, Inc. Houston, TX Aug 30, 2013 $67,100
Environmental Planner Langan Engg, Env, Surveying & Landscape Archit DPC New York, NY Apr 13, 2015 $66,000
Environmental Planner Langan Engineering, Environmental Surveying and La New York, NY Aug 04, 2014 $66,000
Environmental Planner Langan D.P.C. New York, NY Aug 04, 2014 $66,000
Environmental Planner Langan ENGG, ENV, Surveying & Landscape Archit DPC New York, NY Oct 23, 2015 $66,000
Urban and Environmental Planner URS Corporation Oakland, CA Dec 12, 2013 $65,281
Urban and Environmental Planner URS Corporation Los Angeles, CA May 06, 2013 $65,281
Urban and Environmental Planner URS Corporation Los Angeles, CA Nov 15, 2012 $65,281
Urban Environmental Planner Ecocity Builders Oakland, CA Sep 15, 2009 $62,234
Environmental Planner 13712 Sunkist DR. Inc. Los Angeles, CA Nov 30, 2010 $58,219
Associate Environmental Planner (Architectural History) California Department of Transportation Oakland, CA Jan 14, 2016 $57,948 -
$72,576
Environmental Planner 13712 Sunkist DR. Inc. Los Angeles, CA Nov 01, 2010 $57,600
Environmental Planner Conlon & Company, LLC Chicago, IL Jun 17, 2010 $53,511
Environmental Planner Conlon & Company, LLC Chicago, IL Jun 30, 2010 $53,511

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Top Skills for An Environmental Planner

EnvironmentalComplianceEnvironmentalAssessmentsNaturalResourcesEnvironmentalPolicyEnvironmentalPlanningEnvironmentalDocumentsGISCeqa/NepaWildlifeWetlandDelineationsHabitatAirQualityDevelopmentProjectsEmergencyEnvironmentalImpactsPublicMeetingsManagementPlanTechnicalReportsPublicInvolvementEir/Eis

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Top Environmental Planner Skills

  1. Environmental Compliance
  2. Environmental Assessments
  3. Natural Resources
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Developed, oversaw and implemented environmental compliance activities in coordination with local and federal environmental agencies.
  • Prepare environmental assessments, environmental impact statements, and related documentation for federal and other projects.
  • Contributed to the creation of statewide plans to protect sustainable, scenic, historic and natural resources.
  • Ensured compliance with National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
  • Established Quality Assurance/Quality Control Program designed to measure the effectiveness and enhance the quality of environmental planning documents.

Top Environmental Planner Employers

Environmental Planner Videos

Environmental Planner | ISEEK

Day in the Life - Environmental Planner

The Career of an Environmental Planner

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